Rancho Nicasio, the restaurant/bar/live music venue/ranch/private event space in Marin, has a newfound glow thanks to Michelin-starred chef Ron Siegel, who is now heading up the food program in the newly-renovated Western Room. Siegel left Michael Mina as executive chef in January after 3 years with the restaurant, before which he was the The Ritz-Carlton's executive chef. If the move from some of the city’s finest dining destinations to the way more casual Rancho Nicasio seems strange, Siegel disagrees.
"I’m not saying anything negative about the places I’ve been — Masa’s, Charles, Ritz and even Mina in some ways — but it’s just a little pretentious, and I wanted to take a step back from that kind of atmosphere, but still do some really nice food in a setting that's way more approachable to people," he explained to Eater. "This is something I've wanted to do for a long time, to be able to do a really nice, accessible menu and not just cater to that one percent. I'm hoping to get a better feeling from it all."
The Rancho Nicasio roadhouse setting is certainly approachable, with its lawn barbecues, comfortable bar and live music. Siegel’s domain for now is just the 46-seat Western room (and its 40-seat adjacent patio), where he’ll be serving completely local product and market-driven American fare at approachable a la carte prices. ("Using that bounty of everything that's around here makes it really easy to write a menu. It's like a slam dunk; it’s brainless," Siegel said.) Dishes like braised rabbit tortelloni, hamachi crudo and Sonoma County duck breast fill out the menu, which you can see in full here. Max Brown will continue as executive chef for the rest of the property.
The Western Room at Rancho Nicasio is open Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 5:30 p.m to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.